North Korea prohibits smoking in public spaces: state media

FILE PHOTO: A man smokes a cigarette outside the airport in Pyongyang, North Korea May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly on Wednesday introduced smoking bans in some public places to provide citizens with “hygienic living environments,” state media KCNA reported on Thursday.

The tobacco-prohibition law aims to protect the lives and health of North Koreans by tightening the legal and social controls on the production and sale of cigarettes, KCNA quoted the legislature as saying.

The law stipulates that smoking is banned in specific venues, such as political and ideological education centres, theatres and cinemas and medical and public health facilities, KCNA said.

North Korea has high rates of smoking tobacco, with 43.9% of the male population smokers as of 2013, according to the World Health Organization.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known as a chain smoker who is frequently seen with a cigarette in hand in photographs in state media. Kim was spotted taking a cigarette break at a railway station in the southern Chinese city of Nanning in 2019 on his way to Hanoi for his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Reporting by Sangmi Cha in Seoul; Editing by Matthew Lewis